Thursday, April 30, 2009

Brown Eyed Girls - How Come

A 'spin-off' of my Rain addiction - I heard the song during a Rain interview and loved it so I've been looking for it since yesterday morning. I found ittttt! hahah.

Compared to the UK and even more the US, South Korea seems to have a whole bunch of girl groups out at the moment and I'm not just talking about new ones - there are a whole host of established girl bands. If I was to compare it to UK pop, think of the time when Girls Aloud, Atomic Kitten, The Sugababes, Clea, The Spice Girls, B*Witched and All Saints existed which was NEVER. hahah.

That's just for the girl groups I know - and I don't know a lot. There's Wonder Girls, Girls Generation, T-ara, Jewelry, and a lot I forgot about or just don't know about yet. Then of course, you have the Brown Eyed Girls.

Once again, I never look at the lyrics. Even if I don't know what the crap they're saying - this song is amazing.

If I was to evaluate everything else from them that I've heard, I'd say they're not that good but this song is just so freakin' brilliant that it's a crime not to listen to it. It follows what I assume is a trend within female solo/group acts - that Euro-ish/dance/techno sound(Lee Hyori was doing it and I've heard quite a few other bands doing this.) but what I love so much about this song is the bridge(the part the girl with the ponytail and bangs sings, I'm quite sure that's the verse).

(note: you have to listen to this before you even think of loading the video below - trust me.)

Heck, even mind-blowing wouldn't do it justice. Time to look for another word.

If I was to honestly name the best bridge I've heard this year(and I've heard a lot of good bridges this year..) - this would be it. I don't care if I hate the rapping part(although it's become tolerable now..) and the girl singing first sucks live - the bridge is the best thing I've heard since the first time I played Rain's discography.

Amazing instrumentation, good, strong verses, a chorus that hits you from nowhere and the most mind-blowing bridge, can it get any better? Of course it can!(I was as surprised as I expect you to be right now..)

A good song should be able to morph - it should be able to be flexible and not limit itself to one arrangement. In short, if you strip the vocals/melody and slap it on another arrangement, it should work like nothing changed and boy can this song do that. This is the reason why I told you guys to listen to the original song with the original arrangement because now you HAVE to hear this:
What I don't understand though is why the girl singing that friggin' bridge ISN'T the lead singer - she beats that crap can't-sing-live lead singer any day. Did you hear how she just belted out her part? ugh.


Finally, they see some sense.


Although I would've LOVED it if he was ousted and not saved, bottom two is a welcome improvement from all the undeserved raving and praises he's been getting. Finally, the voting public see some sense. I mean, do they really want a theatrical guy as an American Idol? What happened to the sense of 'real'? That Idol turned ordinary people, real people into stars.

First step bottom two, next step elimination. Oh, and Allison can go as well - she doesn't deserve to be in the final because there are too many girls like her here. They might even be a heck of a lot better than screaming Allison.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Flashback: Guy Sebastian

Haven't done one of these in quite a while. hmmmm.

I rattle on and on about how debut albums should be this and that, how they should have certain characteristics to work and be brilliant but I realize that I've missed out on one of the biggest factors.

Debut albums should be imperfect. I know it sort of contradicts everything I've been saying for the past few months but it's true. Above all the mastery, songwriting, production and marketability a debut album should show that the artist is imperfect, just like you and me.

They should leave lots of room for the artist to grow.

Yes, this may be the only shot of some to make an album and you'd think it should be perfect but making it imperfect is an indication that the artist is just starting out, that if we keep listening we might just be blown away. I remember saying a few months back that production flaw should be hidden and artists' abilities should be played up(was that with the JoJo album? I think so..) and while that still stands, I think it's not the production and abilities that need to be imperfect - the songs should have this air of uncertainty.

Not completely uncertain but it should leave you with this feeling of rawness, like if you listen to the album five years after it was released you'd say that the artist grew a heck of a lot. I think being an artist means growing and making mistakes in front of your audience while giving them something worth listening to - no matter how crap you think it is.

The album opens up with Angels Brought Me Here which is probably one of the most beautiful Idol winner's songs along with Agnes' Right Here, Right Now and a few others. It builds up but it doesn't hit you in the head with the fact that it's a big ballad - a joy to listen to, if I were to say so.

So I is a fun track and it sounds light - like a warm summer morning(I'm not kidding). Great melody but very little dynamics - enjoyable, to say the least. I've heard something like Can You Stand The Rain before although I do love this waaaay more than whatever it is I heard. Gorgeous instrumentation, OK verses but the chorus will just blow you away. It's a timeless song, give this song with the same arrangement to someone like Kevin Borg or Jesse McCartney and it would seriously work. Although I do love how this song just compliments Guy's voice - no one will be able to do it like he did it.

My Beautiful Friend is like a sloppier Angels Brought Me Here but for some strange reason I love it. The piano section is gorgeous and the arrangement is just brilliant. Reminds me of something S Club or some late 90's pop band would sing.

All of these tracks are brilliant but if I was to call my favorite it would be All I Need is You. Everything about this song screams pop and yet it's not Swedish, it's not American nor is it Brit - I can seriously say I've only heard something like this from the likes of Guy Sebastian, Amy Pearson and Ricki-Lee. What I love so much about Australian pop is that it's so perky, so fun and the melodies are so gorgeous that you'd want to gobble all the albums up in a matter or seconds if you can. Everything about this song is gorgeous.

NOTE: This is the last flashback.

Natalie Bassingthwaighte - Star

Once again, sorry for being MIA these past few days - I got a bad cold and slept for like 80% of the time. Am a bit better now, I can sit in front of the computer for a few hours straight again so back to work! hahah.

I just recently got a hold of the bonus track from 1,000 Stars and I was quite unimpressed with it when I first heard it so I pushed it aside. While I was looking for something to blog about, I thought of maybe slamming it but when I listened to it again I had a different impression of it.

With a little tweaks on the arrangement to make it perkier and some treatment from the likes of Savan Kotecha or Max Martin, this seriously has the possibility to become and S Club-esque song but of course, it's not. It's laid-back electro(at least I think that's what you call it..) or an electro-ized Bossa Nova(which I'm NOT very fond of. Mainly because the so-called 'bossa nova' here consists of boring voices singing sanitized, lifeless and flat covers.) but it has this certain appeal to it that makes you want to listen to it again.

I don't find the melody brilliant and I don't find the arrangement stunning - changes can be made but over-all it's a pleasing listen. This is a song that deserves to be a bonus track - pushed to the wayside because I don't think it's as good as the rest of the album.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

How it's REALLY done.

I wasn't that music-conscious during the boyband/girlband/pop wave of the 90's but from everything I've read and heard about and from the period, it seemed pretty amazing. I was however very into music when the current boybands started sprouting out - NLT, V Factory, Varsity Fanclub, Avenue(RIP...) and countless others. They were all trying to be R&B and hip hop but there was something missing about them - the magic that boybands used to have, no matter what the genre is.

BSB will forever be legends, there's no denying it but what makes them legends is that they come out with these brilliant songs and beat the socks off us and all these young boybands. It's current music - no more Quit Playing Games or Larger Than Life. However they do this 'current' thing extremely well and continue to make us believe that they are forever the kings of American boybands(Westlife being the kings of UK boybands of course).

Masquerade reminds me of NLT's Karma but the main difference between the two is that BSB made an over-all better song. It's catchier, the production's better and that thing that Karma lacks, something to blow you away but keep you listening - it's there.


Friday, April 24, 2009

New Music!

Quite a number of new stuff. Some not as new but I haven't blogged about them yet so that's new! hahah.
  • Everyone's gushing about the new Booty Luv single(which is still set for release later this year..) but I personally don't get it. I don't know if it's because it reminds me too much of something Lady GaGa could and would sing or if I just don't like it to start with. 
  • I'm still addicted to Rain. I'm serious - if you haven't heard his 2008 album you're missing a heck of a lot. He puts Justin Timberlake to shame, if you were to ask me.
  • Michael Johns' single Heart On Your Sleeve is impressive - but not my cup of tea. His voice is gorgeous and all but it reminds me of a 2006 single I can't quite pinpoint yet. All I know is that it reminds me of 2006 when I got addicted to MTV and the local music channel. Will do my research.
  • Mitchel Musso's new single is even more impressive - I actually adore it. He reminds me of a more juvenile Teddy Geiger and that's a good thing(I think I've professed my love for him a few times already..). The melody's gorgeous and if he works a little more on the slightly wimpy voice and stick with an acoustic/piano thing, this song will work. Not a big fan of the very rock parts with heavy guitars and drums - I much prefer the start and the rather short middle-8.
  • There's a new NLT song floating around called Magnetic and it reminds me waaaay too much of a Day26 song. Creepy.
  • I think I've talked about Esmee Denters before in passing but I just got the HQ version of her single(late, I know. Forgive me.) and the song got even better. Definitely the new Gia Farrell although she better get an album release - the US lacks a big female pop star who makes brilliant pop songs.
  • It's Your Dynamite, the b-side to GA's Untouchable is out. The verdict? Not so good. For now, at least. There's nothing special about the song or the melody - it's just a plain old recycled melody put on top of a loop stuck with a strange chorus. I might like it if I listen to it a bit more(ala-The Show) but for now, things aren't looking that good.
  • It's all over the place but I should write something about Agnes' acoustic version of Release Me. I first heard it a few months ago(not sure exactly when..) when I was just announced as the second single and I thought it was brilliant. Now we have the studio mixed and 'sweetened' version and it's even betterrrrrrr! This seriously puts all those American pop stars who can't sing a note in tune live on their below-average songs they call 'pop'. hahah.
  • One of my recent discoveries is Korean pop star/TV star Lee Hyori. Apparently she's gigantic in Korea and is constantly being linked to Rain(hmmmm.). She doesn't have the most gorgeous voice in the world but the song will stick in your head and refuse to leave, whether it's good or bad. Oh, and even if you can't understand 95% of the song, it's got a great melody.. Her album isn't that bad either - there are some cool R&B staples on it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New stuff from Varsity Fanclub.. + BRILLIANCE.

Excuse the rather slow pace of posting - I'm hooked on Rain and everything about him at the moment that it's practically all I do the whole day.

So anyway, they've got two new songs which actually have quite similar elements because - wait for it, one of them's a RedOne song(at least I'm sure it is..) and they've both got that RedOne sound.

I was wondering where these guys were...

Piece of Me starts out with an a capella section I quite enjoyed before launching into a techno/RedOne loop and the melody of the verse seriously blows me away. I have my favorite Varsity songs and this is not one of them but it's a pretty solid track - possible single if I was to call the shots(although now that I'm listening to it more, it sounds a lot more like Jada's American Cowboy.. hmm.).


We Will has a similar a capella thing at the start, although slower and it's rock-er and not as strong as the other tracks I think.

But something else kinda overshadowed the so-so Varsity songs.


Seriously - I've been waiting for this since like forever and it certainly hasn't disappointed. This girl really does have everything she needs to succeed - a record label, a fan base and a heck of a lot of talent. Plus the fact that this song is outright brilliant.

I've talked about her before and I've always had good things to say about her so this is no different. I stand by the fact that I'm anticipating her album the most this year. More than JoJo, Rain, Aly&AJ and even friggin' Westlife - mainly because I want to hear what the crap she's gonna do with all these amazing songs and her mind-blowing voice.


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Nick Lachey - All In My Head

Sorry about not posting yesterday, I got too carried away watching Rain videos(lame excuse, I know but it's true!) that I didn't notice the time.
Ever since I heard his 'wimpy excuse for a song' version of Patience, I kinda lost interest and respect for Nick Lachey. Patience is one of these songs you should never even attempt to cover if you're nowhere near Gary Barlow because it was such a big hit and people will always equate the song to Take That. So for the past few months I didn't really pay any attention to him until I heard the new song.

2009 may have started out real slow and a lot of acts were dropped and/or disbanded but the quality of the pop that's coming out is a lot better than say, 2008.

The starts out really cool, it reminds me of a more processed Teddy Geiger song but something about the elements make you expect a huge, epic chorus and you do get one. It slowly builds up and when the chorus hits it's like it was meant to hit you like that. In comes the second verse and it's slightly more tense than the first - it builds up quicker. The middle-8 is spectacular - if I may say so.

It doesn't have the most gorgeous melody in the world but the song as a whole made me want to hear more songs like this and made me curious as to what he's trying to do with his next album.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

A quick update..

Well today's my last day of being MIA, tomorrow I'm back to blogging full-time - unless something else happens but I doubt it.

Expect a lot of Rain posts in the coming days, I just can't seem to get enough of this guy! Oh, and a new music post should come in the next few days as well.

Ah, it's great to be back, I've got a lot of steam to let off because of this incident so the next few days should be good for me.. hahah.

PS, thanks so much for your comments on my last post - it meant a lot.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Sorry for not posting that much, my uncle just died yesterday morning and everything was a blur yesterday. I may not be able to post for the next few days 'coz the place we're staying in doesn't have an internet connection and there'll be lots of things to take care of...

I predicted ANOTHER single? What's with me and guessing all the eventual singles now? ANYWAY, the video's a bit boring but the song is still a guilty pleasure.. hahah.

Am not myself today, sorry about that. Will be back posting when I can..

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Alesha Dixon is AMAZING.

It's her new France-only digital download. Need I say more?

The song just flows - like the verses and the chorus aren't two separate parts of a song. The chorus doesn't hit you on the head but it's gorgeous and it sucks you in - you want to listen to the song over and over again until you get sick of it(which hasn't happened yet with the song so I highly doubt it'll ever happen...).

5/5!!!!!!! Why the crap is this a France-ONLY release?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ashley Tisdale - It's Alright, It's OK

Sorry for not posting as much as I'd like to, I've been too busy watching YouTube-hopping for Rain videos!(I've watched like 150 videos in the last two days...) Mainly because he's my new addiction. ANYWAY.It's been hyped, talked about and finally released but I have to admit, I wasn't that interested at the start - I didn't kill for 10-second clips or anything. When I finally heard it in full though, I absolutely adored the song from start to finish.

All these other Disney robots should really learn from Ashley. Yes, do movies with Disney because those'll get your name on the map but never, ever sign a record deal with them because we all know what happens to those who do. Ashley had a brilliantly-made debut album with a lot of pop staples and clever marketing techniques so what happened to it? Headstrong was the best-selling HSM alumni debut album.

She's back and everything about this song is right. It reminds me of something on her first album but you know its not - she's grown as an artist, something Disney has a very hard time pulling off. It was a logical move for her sound-wise because she had those He Said, She Said's and Love Me For Me's but those songs won't work if that's all you're doing. I'm thankful she didn't go the Britney or Lady GaGa way like everyone else because it would be a shame letting go of the sound she had on her first album.

I LOVE the verses, they make you curious - what's she gonna do next? It's not a predictable verse that once you've heard three lines you know what the chorus sounds like, it keeps you off the edge of your seat. Then the chorus kicks in and you're blown off your seat, I mean it. It sounds like something HIlary or Lindsay would've done on their first albums and yet I don't think it would work for them.

It's like the song takes you on a roller coaster - you start out with a gorgeous verse and then the chorus comes in and it takes you to different directions you have no idea existed and then back down to the gorgeousness before it builds up into this explosion of everything, actually.

In short, I love it.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Rain - Rainism

It's very rare that I write about Asian artists, mainly because no one has ever REALLY drawn me in before but with this guy literally ruling the Asian pop scene, I thought I'd give him a chance. I'd known about Rain's existence for three years now and I liked his stuff but I never bothered to watch his live stuff or most of his videos for some strange reason so today I scoured YouTube for performances and I was blown away. Which got me thinking, what makes him so popular? But I won't answer that yet.

I will however say why he's so freakin' brilliant. Yes, I've fallen trap to his brilliance.(I can't believe it either.)

I've said time and time again about how much I hate carbon copies of genre stereotypes and how unoriginal they are. I say that when an artist is trying to be something but does it horribly or creates a mediocre record. When I first heard of Rain I thought he was one of those artists but boy was I wrong.

The thing about Rain is that yes, he sounds like your typical R&B singer/songwriter(does he write his own songs?)/dancer but what makes him tick is the fact that he actually does the whole singer/dancer thing extremely well and neither of the two elements overpower each other. He has a gorgeous recording voice which functions pretty well live and he can daaaaaaance. Seriously, I watched him dancing and then watched Usher dancing and Rain was waaaaaaaay better.

OK fine, he can do these things and all but add one more thing - his ability to hold the audience in the palm of his hands and look amazing in the process(I'm not kidding, he can be hot at times...). You have to watch even just his TV performances to fall in love with the music and the talent.

The intro is quite interesting and I love hearing just him singing, even if I don't really adore the melody. It's nice to hear him without the heavy instrumentals once in a while.

Rainism is his 'world dominating' single - that was what I thought even before I found out that it indeed was his 'let's make me a huge star in Asia and the World' single. It's a recurring sound for him - we've heard this before with I'm Coming and it's got the perfect formula. Controversial lyrics, a killer dance routine, several hooks that refuse to exit your brain after you've heard the song and lots of airplay/music video air time. It's not the best melody in the world but everything else about this song is right.

In comes one of my favorites on the album, Only You. It's a brilliantly woven sweet R&B ballad that can win against Usher's Burn any day. What makes this song so brilliant is that yes, it sounds very Western but isn't that who Rain is as an artist? As much as it's bad for an Asian to sound too Western, he doesn't pretend to be anything else and like I said, he does it extremely well which is why he's forgiven in my books. Not convinced yet? Watch this performance and see if you still think he's not that good.

I can talk about this guy for years if I could but I won't so let's just skip the other amazing tracks and go straight to the last track, My Way. Since Love Story's the second single pretty much everywhere, I'd place my bets on this as the third single. It's distinctly Rain and the A&R side of me(which happens to work pretty well at the moment..) tells me that it's gonna be a gargantuan hit all over Asia. It clearly wasn't first single(almost always the 'world domination' one..) material and neither was it second single so let's all settle for third. I can imagine the dance routine to this(I'm pretty sure there's already an existing one that I haven't seen yet but never mind), which is a sign that it's very marketable.

I can't answer why he's so popular all over Asia but I can explain why he's so popular here in the Philippines. I always talk negatively about the rest of the Filipino music-listening population but for once, I have something nice to say. Because Rain is Korean and he(obviously) sings in Korean which not a lot of us are actually fluent in, we don't understand a thing he's saying unless he puts in the odd English word or two. Because they don't know what the crap he's talking about, they just listen to the song and watch the dancing - they take the song as a melody and an instrumental and they take the guy as a performer. Yes, some might learn Korean because of that(it's happened with the Japan invasion) but not everyone. There will be people who will see him as a musician and not some guy who sings songs with good lyrics.

Isn't that what music is supposed to be? As I always say, if you like the lyrics, read poetry for heaven's sake! If Rain can make his Filipino listeners aware of the fact that the music industry does not revolve around giving them 'nice lyrics', something that annoys me like hell, then I have even greater respect for him now.

SO, to sum up the album:
Best Track: Only You and Fresh Woman are tied..
Better Tracks: everything else. YESSS!
Least Favorite Track: None, duh.
THE RATING: 5/5, for being downright brilliant.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A year in retrospect..

I didn't have time to write this up during the day of the anniversary up to now because of everything I still had to do in school but I'm doing it now so it doesn't really matter. I know it may be a little bit self-centered but I feel like I need to reflect on my year, I need to take the good and the bad - the things I wish I hadn't said but I still did and make my second year even better than this one was.

Getting to one year of blogging is a big thing for me, mainly because my last shot at a music-related blog only lasted for about ten months(Take away the hiatuses I took that's about eight months) and in general, getting past the first year is probably the hardest thing to do, whatever you're doing.

I know it may seem cheesy but I do really remember the day I wrote my first review like it was yesterday. I remember telling myself that I wasn't going to write one or two paragraphs on a song just because - I was going to write full-length, five paragraph reviews and do them well.

Reading through that first review, I see how much I've changed over that one short year. My grasp on the subject has tightened and expanded and my writing style, the way I articulate things has changed. I've started using expressions, I've ranted about my musical frustrations but everything I've done leads to one thing - being able to do something I love.

Like everyone else I started this blog from scratch, not knowing what was ahead of me. I grew an audience(mainly from Google-ers, apparently.) and part of that audience is a group of bloggers that I have absolute respect for - I'd kill to be in their position. There were two blogs in particular that really made me want to do this, that I read every time a new post came and that made me freak out when they mentioned me. Don't get me wrong, every single blog listed on the sidebar is outright amazing(I'm dead serious.) but those two blogs drove me, kept me going.

You don't know how loud I screamed and freaked out when Poster Girl said she was looking forward to my year-end countdown last year. I hyperventilated and genuinely freaked out. To know that someone you respect and adore says you're somewhere near good is mind-blowing and it made me want to do this even more.

As if that wasn't enough, I nearly fainted when Paul linked to me several times on his year-end 'best of'. A few days or weeks later, I landed a place on his sidebar. Yeah, I've been linked all over the place(including Poster Girl during the very early stages of the blog, I think.) except FizzyPop!! and I freaked out some more.

All the mentions on what are possibly two of the biggest blogs everrr made my year sweeter and worth every second.

I love getting comments from fellow bloggers but what also made my year worth it was the number of people who visited and the comments I got from them. I don't get hundreds of comments a day but I have gotten a lot over this year. Reading all the comments about the stuff I post makes me smile, I love looking over the discussions and stuff. I've gotten advice, extra info and friendship from those comments - one of them I'll never forget.

It was the start of my year-end countdown when this girl(didn't really know her well then so let's just call her 'girl') started commenting a lot on the entries. I replied and we began talking about stuff, eventually moving over to chatting. I came to know Mel as an amazing writer, someone with a knack for saying exactly what's on our minds and someone extremely into music. She was on street teams and joined contests, got close to the artists and so I wasn't surprised when she got an internship at a major label. What I'll never forget about her is the fact that she has this balance between Top ten tracks, the hottest of hot and rare, hard to find songs. She introduced me to so many new artists, so many amazing songs and made my outlook on American music a little more positive. For that I respect her.

Since I don't exactly live in a huge country, we Filipinos have this reflex that if we come across a fellow Filipino amidst all the foreigners, we stick together and support each other. I have no idea where and how I first came across Ken's blog but I'm glad I did. My main frustration in life is the fact that everyone I meet here only sees foreign artists as Asians or Americans(I'm dead serious! Ask any one of my classmates here who the heck Girls Aloud are and they'll think you're making it up.) so when I saw what TBR was filled with - reviews on US AND UK artists, let's just say I freaked. I read his blog a lot, value his opinions and really, genuinely respect him as a blogger.

So there - that was my year. It was filled with ups and downs, rants and praises but I look to my second year without fear or hesitation. I want to write and I want a future in music, I'm sure of it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Click Five - I Quit! I Quit! I Quit!

I absolutely adored The Click Five during their Eric Dill/first album days but the moment I heard the new guys voice + the FOB-wannabe songs, my adoration for them fizzled away. Their first album was filled with pop masterpieces, tracks that were so fun yet 'cool' enough to top the charts and the band admitted that they were making pop. Their second album quietly came along(I didn't even know they were releasing one until about two weeks after!) and the only track I really actually liked on it was Flipside but even that wasn't like how they used to be.

So apparently, they're gearing up to release their new album sometime this year and a new song is circulating. I got curious and since I loved their first album so much I gave them a chance and listened to the song. What I heard surprised me.

The guitar at the start sort of reminds me of Catch Your Wave and the verses sound like something Eric Dill would have no problem singing but what blew my mind was the chorus. It's nothing like the first album but it's like they've managed to make the two sounds from their previous album mix with the poppy side more prominent, thankfully. The in-your-face melody that the first albums songs had was there, but you could hear the second album in the song. It made me smile, it isn't this lame trying-hard rock song like Jenny - it's a sweet pop song that I could imagine playing at a beach party or something.

I honestly have no idea what this song is going to be - is it gonna be on the album or a single? What I do know is that I absolutely love it and if they see the light of another album with stuff like this, I'd buy it.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jade Ewen - It's My Time

Ok, so I'll admit to watching the reality show where they chose her but for heaven's sake, I'll never ever like this song.

Jade has a nice voice - it's powerful but seriously Britain, if you're gonna send a Leona copycat, you're better off sending the girl herself. I've said this before and I'll say it again - the world DOES NOT revolve around making every single British female reality show-found singer into the next Leona Lewis. I'd have liked it better if the twins had won because frankly, I think they have more character and personality than Jade will ever have.

She's talented, yes and she may seem like a huge Leona copycat but what annoys me the most is the song itself. I mean we know Britain's trying desperately to win the Eurovision but if the song you're sending to the contest has only thee words - it's my time, then you better rethink the song choice.

I don't care if Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote it and I don't care if the melody's remotely gorgeous - I do not want to hear a girl screaming that it's her time and she's not gonna let go of it over and over again. If you can listen to 1,000 Stars a million times and not have your ears fall out, this is the complete opposite. You listen to it once and you think you've heard it hundreds of times when you've only actually only heard it once.

I do like the instrumentation though. Maybe I should take her vocals out and just listen to the backing track - that sounds good.


See what I mean by the fact that I'm getting better at this A&R stuff(posted a comment on Poster Girl when I found out that Let's Get Excited is Alesha Dixon's third single..)?

I said it already but Let's Get Excited is indeed Alesha Dixon's third single! YAY! I love this song to bits - it's got a lovely melody but it doesn't lose the edginess that it's meant to have. At some points of the song you actually hear REAL instruments which I'm a little more into after watching what it can do to already amazing Craig David songs and the song is fun. It's not fun in the trying hard way and it's not fun because it'll sell more if it is, it's fun just because - it's fun for the sake of being fun.(5/5)

I should really do a review on her album.

The announcement that kind of fueled this post was that 1,000 Stars would be the third single from Natalie Bassingthwaighte!! YAY AGAIN! If you remember my review on the album, this one was my favorite song. I mean, how can you NOT like it? It's epic yet the melody's so simple. You'd think that with that short a chorus the repetition would seem really annoying but everything just falls into place on this song. The clashing of the quieter verses with the epic chorus gives you goosebumps and you'd want to play this over and over and over and over again until your ears fall out but they won't. Brilliance!(5/5 - duh.)

And did I also mention that I said late last year when I first heard Out of Control that Untouchable is one of the stronger songs on the album? hahah.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rant: The state of industry - April 9, 2009

I don't know why it took me so long to write this but I am it now so that's a step forward..

In December of 2007 I was assured that Leon Jackson would take his place beside all the other X Factor winners and become a multi-platinum artist because he won the whole series. During Christmas week that same year I was assured that his winner's single would go to number one and it did.

Months later we first heard Don't Call This Love and I don't know where I first wrote it but I said I loved it and it was brilliant stuff. I was assured that Simon Cowell would have the decency to try and make him as big as Leona was because believe it or not - the world does not revolve around miss 'I'm as good a Whitney and Mariah put together', there are people with more talent, potential and individuality than her.

In late October we were offered a gorgeous album filled with beautifully-sung songs and assured that he would be big just because. The album peaked at 4 in the UK - apparently that wasn't very good.

If you look at it this way, Girls Aloud were also formed on a reality show in 2002 and the first time an album of theirs ever hit number one was in 2006 - FOUR YEARS AFTER THEIR DEBUT. They had number two, six, ELEVEN, and four-charting albums in order but did Polydor drop them? NO!

My point is that Sony BMG should give this guy a break because he's so different from all the other reality show winners that other people are having a hard time adjusting to him. Give him another album, if it does better than Right Now did, keep him on the label but if it doesn't, keep trying. This guy's a slow burn - you can't put his album on and expect everyone to like him in an instant because he's not sanitized R&B or a stadium ballad singer. He sings gorgeous songs and looks awkward when he performs but that's what makes him so endearing.

Yes, chart positions help a great deal in keeping a recording contract but they shouldn't be the only basis. Leon had already established a fan base(me included!) and he had a repertoire of gorgeous original songs written just for him - don't you think that was a huge waste of money to have them written then drop the guy? These songs won't be performed anymore and it's a shame because some of them had the potential to become classics.

This is almost all the record company's fault. I mean, you put out a single with no video, no promo and expect it to magically turn up on the charts? Even the people who get the lowest of low chart positions do promo - it's a fact of the recording industry. A single with virtually no promotion and an album with hardly any promo also cannot be grounds for dropping such a gorgeous voice.

Yes, he can find another record company but which of the Big 4 is gonna take him in? They know he tanked with Sony BMG and they won't want anything to do with him because of it. He'll be forever stuck as an indie artist posting covers on YouTube(not stereotyping or anything, people get discovered on YouTube but what I mean is he'll never be noticed on YT by the record companies).

That's the danger of these reality shows. You hype all the contestants up and they're in their own little world of voting, three to four judges telling them what they did right and wrong and a couple hundred people in the audience made up of their family, friends and people who will scream as long as you give them live music and Simon Cowell talking. They learn to live in that world so well that once they get out into the real one - they're clueless. They know nothing about how much more ruthless it actually is and how much chart positions matter - fail to get a number one in like three tries even if your singles are top three and you're in deep trouble.

Because they're hyped up so much, people think that the real world will be the same. That the contestants will easily get a number one record just because 20 million people voted for them. That's not possible because you can like the guy and vote for him but you won't go out and buy his album maybe because the record company turned him into this machine or you just don't like him anymore.

And yet, the industry revolves around these shows. I can see how people get the chance to become what they want to be but I don't think the chance should be built on false presumptions and padded prizes. It should revolve around giving real talent a shot at the real industry, not making a fake industry and making them think that it's exactly like that in the real world. It might have some similarities but the whole essence is different.

Even after all these reality shows, one thing in the industry remains constant - it's still very fickle. One minute you're the biggest thing since Mariah Carey and the next you're on the heatseaker's chart. Same goes for these reality shows, one minute you're the best of the night and a week later you're in the bottom three.

What do I think of the industry as a whole at the moment? It's thriving, fickle and as superficial as ever but it attracts me - it sucks you into its world and you just keep wanting more.


The Pop Reviews Now Awards will officially resume!!

After a lul in voting and posting nominations, the awards will officially resume! I'm free every single day now so I have tons and tons of time to devote to posting so yay! haha. Here's what we did before the lul so if you haven't checked them out yet, please do!

And in case you still don't know the link to the official page, it's so go over there and get in on all the action! I'll be posting some new stuff in the next few hours so watch out and keep refreshing! haha.

Once again, I'd like to thank all of you guys for your support, I've been online for a year and two days now on this blog and it means the world to me that you still visit it whenever I get the chance to post something new. There'll be a lot more surprises in the coming year! yayyy! haha.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Eoghan Quigg - Eoghan Quigg

I wasn't really going to get a hold of this album to start with because I thought it would be mediocre and sanitized but after reading the popjustice review about it being the exact opposite of Thriller, I just HAD to hear how bad it is.

Here's what I have to say. Be warned - I'm about to slam this album worse than Britney and you all know I hate the guts out of her.

Guys, if I were to give you one piece of advice when you browse a UK record store(online or not..), never, I repeat - NEVER IN THE GAZILLION YEARS even ATTEMPT to buy Eoghan Quigg's debut album. If you can, pirate it as much as you can, tell your friends to because it's excruciatingly awful.

I don't just mean painful, I mean EXCRUCIATING. I literally have to stop in the middle of a song and breathe because it's so horrid. Eoghan's voice is one that NEEDS auto-tune and double-tracking. Can't Simon see, we won't mind studio tricks if we know that he really sucks in the first place!

As much as I hate boring ballad-filled albums, I'd prefer something like that for Eoghan. The problem is, Simon's trying too hard to make him 'young' and all but he can't. Home is probably the best sung-cover on the album - it's not as painful to hear as the rest of it and I got to about 2:48 before I forwarded it! Recorrrrd. It's still excruciating though.

I've never liked Eoghan - didn't like him on the X Factor and thought his single was so wimpy but this is way below anything he's done. The fact that there's only one original song on the album isn't new to me - I've seen Simon murder Westlife with that technique. What's new to me is the fact that Simon has stooped down to second no, fifth-rate McFly, Busted, ABBA, Take That and even MICHAEL JACKSON covers.

I can take first or second-rate covers if the signing somehow saves the song but Eoghan doesn't do any favors to the songs. I can also take it if the song covered is really gorgeous but nooooo - ABBA? For a sixteen year-old? Never in a trillion years. In short, his repertoire sucks. Is this because of the recession or something? Simon doesn't want to spend anything on Eoghan so he just got a bunch of random songs, had Eoghan sing them and called it an album. OR, he wants to drop the boy and save millions on promotion, production and other stuff.

The conclusion: He can't sing uptempos and he shouldn't try - EVERRR. He shouldn't scream as well. Ugh.

I can't do a sum-up, the whole album sucks worse than anything else and all the tracks are bad. I will however, give it a nice rating. NOT!


Monday, April 6, 2009

Jessica Harp - Boy Like Me

There are those times when you see the video before you get a hold of the actual single but when you do - you love listening to the song and it never leaves your library. Sometimes though, you like the song when you hear it on the video but once you hear just the song without the visuals, it looses its appeal.

Boy Like Me is the perfect example of that.

If you listen to this song regardless of how much better it may sound with something visual, it's actually not half bad. It's very lively pop/country/rock and it's got an infectious hook that sticks to your head long after you stop listening to the song. The melody's also really cool - it makes you curious about so many things, in a good way. In fact, she kinda sounds like an older and smoother Miley - I can imagine her going this route long after Disney disposes of her.

All in all it's a good song, but I'm still not convinced. Why? Because the song sounds do much better when you're looking at her. Even when I'm listening to just the song, all I can think of is the video.

This song is the epitome of the 'she looks better than she sings' type. Yes, the video looks so cool, it was well made - very pop but it's shallow and there's nothing else to it except making her look good. It works but in all the wrong ways. The point of a music video is to get the viewers to buy the song itself and listen to it over and over again but if it sucks without the video, what's the point of ever releasing it?

Over-all I have mixed feelings about this song - I like it but it doesn't sound that good without something visual and the song is catchy but there's something wrong with it.
The rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Savannah Outen - Unlock the Door

I know this girl been out for over a year now and her songs have been sitting in my library for the longest time but I only listened to them last week so forgive me...

No matter how much we criticize all these kids for making manufactured music and letting themselves be turned into record company puppets, there are always a few out of a generation that actually do the manufactured thing right. My generation had Hilary, this generation has Miley(even if her music sucks, she's still popular beyond belief) and Jordan Pruitt and the next generation has people like Savannah.

All of these girls start their music career with a song that'll be able to cross years - something adhering to the current trends yet something timeless, something tested and proven by the generation before them. Hilary had So Yesterday, Miley had Best of Both Worlds, Jordan had Jump to the Rhythm and Savannah had Goodbyes - all these songs are written with them in mind, to showcase something special about them to 'set them apart' from others. The reality is, they're not any different from all the other girls vying to be the best because they're all manufactured(duh..). You listen to these girls' singles(mainly Hilary, Jordan and Savannah) and you'll hear the similarities.

As they advance as an artist or as their first album approaches, they begin to either show even more similarities or grow into their own artists(the the company's help, of course.) - Hilary went the pop/rock then techno-ish and now club/dance while Miley went the country-rock way, with the occasional pop so where's Savannah gone?

The one-girl pop/rock band route.

Unlock the Door sounds like it could be on an Everlife album, in a good way. It may sound a lot like that but her grip on the genre's phenomenal and the song is so catchy you want to kill it. It's got a 'happy melody' that makes you want to dance around your room with hairbrush in hand a mime the song(I've tried it and yes, it's the perfect song for that!), which means it's perfect as the opening song of a DCOM which in turn might just catapult her to Disney stardom.

If Disney stardom means getting other people to hear her, then I'm all for it however if it means stripping her of the musical direction she's going in at the moment, then I'm against it 100%.


Friday, April 3, 2009

That Kevin Borg album review(very short) + two single reviews(THE NEW AGNES SOOOONG!) + two really sad announcements.

Kevin Borg was one of those artists I checked out by association - he's Swedish and he won Idol. To a certain extent having the Idol label helps 'coz people like me who don't exactly watch all the shows around the world will see an artist with the label and get curious - sometimes you discover amazing new music.

So there, I gave this guy's album a listen and I was presented with amazing, standalone songs. If you listen to these songs alone, with no outside factors and blocking out all your knowledge about other songs and music in general it's actually a good album but the thing is, you don't do that. I listened to the album from start to finish and I was a bit put off but I chose the songs with good melodies, listened to them over individually and I was impressed.

He has good songs - they're gorgeous, he knows where to find them and how to sing them 'coz he has a gorgeous voice but they're all so detached from each other.

That's all I have to say about the album - and that Street Lights, Out Of Time and More Than I Do Now are probably the best on the album.
Jesse McCartney's re-releasing Departure but you all probably know that already. Body Language(which was very eagerly awaited after a live version leaked) leaked a few days back and I was going to write a review for it today but then something better came along - the other song on the re-release. Crash and Burn will probably never be a single but it's such a gorgeous song that I at the very least should write something about it.

It starts out very simple, with a nice melodious verse and a gorgeous instrumentation but then once the chorus kicks in you realize that the verse was nothing compared to what came next. You have a very simple melody, with a gorgeous instrumentation that made me smile just like how Moments That Matter made me smile and I don't usually smile like that when I hear a song.

My only complaint with him is that he doesn't have groove and a mastery of the genre unlike say, Craig David or Lemar. When you listen to the song you won't bop your head involuntarily, you kind of have to think about when or how. But the song's amazing, better than anything on the original Departure so well done Jesse.

Everyone's been raving on and on about Agnes Carlsson's Love Love Love so it's my turn. I had it already the day it came out but I didn't get the chance to listen 'coz of tests and stuff until a little before I started writing. The verdict - IT'S BRILLIANT.

At the start it's very soft and when I first heard it wasn't that into it but my second listen was very pleasant. Then the standard Agnes style kicks in and it becomes a truly amazing song.

The song has a gorgeous melody, yes but it also takes you on a ride. It starts out slow, builds up bit by bit and by the end of the song you're left with something so mind-blowing that you won't know what hit you but you'll want to listen to it over and over and over and over again.

I'm dead serious, it's a slightly new Agnes that I simply adooooore - she should do more of these stuff. Plus the cover's gorgeous, right?
Two pieces of news - Avenue and Same Difference are no more. Let's take time to mourn.

OK! DONE! haha, really - it's horrible news. Same Difference were dropped and Avenue split. UGH, WHY?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Craig David. Is. BRILLIANT.

I'm sorry for not posting my review earlier but my exams are finally finished and I only have one project to finish so by the seventh I'm all yours - blogginggggg! haha. Let's get on with this.
I don't have any videos and I don't have any pictures, all I have is a crappy recording of the show but everything's for a reason. I didn't take any videos because I was afraid that I'd become too pre-occupied with the video that I wouldn't pay any attention to the actual artistry and brilliance that I was certain would be displayed that night.

I got to the venue half an hour early for the show so we got popcorn and drinks before finding a good seat because unlike all the other concerts I've been to, we weren't in the SVIP or VIP sections - we were at the back. We found our seats, got a good view of the stage and just waited. At 8 PM 'till about 9 we were barraged with these crappy, second-rate Filipino front acts. I'm not generalizing my own culture - there are some brilliant artists from here but it's just that almost everyone in the R&B arena here is just a big wannabe. The last support act was MYMP, a big cover band here and yes, the girl has a nice voice but they won't get anywhere creatively if they keep on doing crappy covers of American songs.

So at about 9 PM, the band started coming onto the stage. 15 minutes later, the show started with either 6 of 1 Thing or Hot Stuff(Let's Dance) and then the other one. I was just so engrossed with the whole show because now I know what a brilliant band can do to brilliant songs - miracles. The show was like nothing you could get on the record because the drums were real and everything was real - no fabricated and processed drums with a brilliant band and Craig David.

That's what I liked about this concert - it was real. No messing around, no lying, just Craig and his band. It was the first concert I saw where I actually really, really liked the artist and it's by far my favorite concert since ever. I loved every bit of it and I didn't want it to end.

For maybe two or three days after the concert I didn't want to listen to the recorded versions of the songs he sang because the live ones were waaaay better.

I forgot the order of the songs but what I do remember is that he sang Insomnia, What's Your Flava?, Fill Me In, All The Way, Take 'Em Off, 7 Days, Unbelievable, Walking Away, Rise & Fall, Friday Night, the two songs from Trust Me I stated earlier and his encore was Rewind.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Rant: What's happening?

No Idol recap this week, but I do have something to say about the state of the competition.

This time last year when the top nine took the stage, they sounded like pros - it was like watching a music festival or something(I've never been to one but that's what I envision it to be..). They all had personalities, there was the balladeer(archie), the rock guy(cook/michael), the rock girl(carly) and everything else and yes, you have that in this season but what makes last season so much better is the fact that the top nine could choose songs, perform them AND I could name all of them and put the voice to the name.

This year I can't.

Yeah, sure you've got Danny who can choose songs, 'Lil who has a gorgeous voice she never puts to good use and Megan who has such a different voice but no one is a triple threat - no one stands out and does what they do extremely well.

The biggest disappointment for me this year is 'Lil. She was amazing during the top 36, I wanted to hear a whole record from her but after that one, brilliant Top 12 performance, everything went wrong. It was the last straw for me when she did horribly during Motown week. That's supposed to be her area, the time when she comes in, sings a song and knocks us off out seats. This week was just painful - I had to stop watching halfway in because it was horrible.

I hate Alison. Yes, she has a voice and yes, it's beyond her years but that's what's wrong with her - the voice is too old, and it hits you on the head. She's too much - the voice, the song choices, it's like they're all out to kill you or something. That's what I get from her, she can't sing a ballad well because she doesn't have a soft side - she's too young and like Simon said, she shouts the song.

Last season Jason was a bit iff-y but he was better than some of the guys because he was quirky and interesting. Yes, Scott has a story and I have nothing against blind people singing, I would say the same thing if he didn't have a handicap but it's just that he's sooooo boring. Week in and week out he gives us boring ballads with no dimension or dynamics. He has a gorgeous voice but I'd like to see him use it on songs other than ballads for once.

Not related to the talent but I'd like to say it as well - I saw this article about Simon being 'Idol's most disrespectful judge' and I was so offended. The purpose of a judging panel is to tell someone what he/she did wrong and/or right by means of the judge's opinions and Simon is stating an opinion. If I was a judge I'd tell that person what I thought of what he/she did, regardless of whether it's good or bad. Some news people - the music industry, like a lot of others is cut-throat, and if you can't take something from an A&R person I'm afraid you won't be able to last a few minutes.

I believe that everyone has a right to an opinion and I used to think that the US was this really, really free place where everyone can say what they think but if they're attacking someone for saying what they think - I don't know how to look at the country now.